The River Derwent at Ebchester has been used for rowing since at least 1870 when the Ebchester Amateur Rowing Club was formed. The first boathouse was built in 1876. A replacement boathouse was built in 1899 and was extended in 1906 by building a dressing room and verandah on top. The Club provided a very important part of the village social life, for both young and old; with Meetings and Regattas being well attended by both competitors and spectators
In 1961 the boathouse was replaced with a new two storey structure but sadly the popularity of rowing declined and the Rowing Club was dissolved in 1974 after which the boathouse fell into a state of dereliction. However, in 1978, the Ebchester Village Trust stepped in to save the boathouse from demolition and in 1981 the 5th Tyne Sea Scouts brought the building back into use and have continued the tradition of water activities since then. Today the river is used for canoeing and kayaking by the 5th Tyne Sea Scouts, Consett YMCA, schools and others. The river is also used regularly by the Lanchester and District Model Boat Club.
All of these groups came together in 2011 to form the Ebchester Boathouse Development Partnership to secure the improvement or re-construction of the boathouse and to manage its future use. The Partnership is supported by the National Trust, as landowner, the Environment Agency and the Tyne Rivers Trust. The boathouse and the river environment are recognised as a great asset to Ebchester and one of the aims of the Partnership is to revive the boathouse as a focal point for community activity
River activities were disrupted following a severe storm in April 2012 during which a culvert on the Ebchester Burn was damaged. A considerable amount of debris was deposited in the river and on the river bank near the boathouse, with some flood water from the burn entering the boathouse. Eighteen months were to pass before the culvert could be repaired and tidying-up could commence, allowing normal activities on the river to be restored
Further information about the boathouse proposals is available on the Boathouse page